At some point in the next few years, the Cowboys will have to determine if Dez Bryant is worth it.
Not just the money that would come with a new contract, although that will certainly be a factor. But all of the time and attention they must pay him to make sure he stays on the correct path. After all, a death by a thousand paper cuts is still a death.
Bryant’s arrest Monday is alarming on a number of fronts. The police report states he slapped his mother's face with a baseball cap and pulled her hair. Extenuating circumstances or not, the charge is reprehensible. A man does not put his hands on a woman. Ever.
However, the calls to cut, trade or suspend Bryant seem to be a rush to judgment just hours after the incident. Let the judicial system play out. Let the NFL do whatever it deems necessary with the personal conduct policy. And then make a decision. Maybe the right thing to do will be to cut, trade or suspend him.
Bryant is just 23 and did not come from the greatest of upbringings. Too often that is used as a way to excuse poor behavior, however, for years players have come up from difficult circumstances and become model citizens. If Bryant needs a mentor, he can look to his left in the locker room at Jason Witten, who saw domestic violence as a youngster and has become an advocate for families in trouble now.
Bryant is talented. He can do things on the field that few other players can do. This is a critical year for Bryant to show he can do more than just the amazing. He has to show he can do the boring, run the correct routes, make the difficult third-down catches and do the little things that make a good receiver great.
Throughout the years teams have been able to put up with different levels of nonsense from superstars because of the production. The Cowboys did it with Michael Irvin in the 1990s. They did it with Terrell Owens for a little while then owner and general manager Jerry Jones quickly decided to end the run following the 2008 season.
Bryant is signed through 2014, yet people are already wondering if he will get a second contract from the Cowboys. I’m on the record saying I don’t think it happens.
Bryant must show he’s worth it, on and off the field.
He hasn’t proven that yet.